Chapter 10 – The Aftermath Part 1
We watched as they skillfully and professionally carried out their duties removing the man and the boy from the wrecked vehicle. We sat next to Nicky on the pavement in front of the house, safely away from the scene. The cops arrived shortly after the paramedics; I wondered what took them so long. I clearly remembered Officer Thomas as he was the cop who questioned us. Dad answered most of the questions with the rest of us contributing as needed. I felt exhausted; the image of the man and the little boy deeply etched in my mind. As the officer completed his investigation I relocated to the small couch on our front porch. My head was pounding profusely.
A few minutes later I looked up to see Nicky walking towards me with my phone; it was ringing. I looked at it and noticed Jason Emery was calling. I suddenly remembered I was calling Jason to invite him to my birthday party when it all happened. “Hi Jason, I am so sorry, you must’ve…….” Jason quickly interrupted, “Don’t worry about it, I actually answered the call and heard the crash and your initial reactions; I realised that something was terribly wrong. I contacted Nicky and she was able to tell me what transpired. It was weird hearing and not being able to see what was happening. I felt helpless all I could do was pray.” Jason’s voice was filled with empathy and compassion. I felt he genuinely cared and was concerned for our well being. I just wanted to be still and listen to his comforting voice. “Are you there?” Jason asked after a few seconds of silence. “Yes I am. I guess I am still in shock over what we just saw. I’ve seen too much; it’s hard to digest what really happened.” Jason then asked, “Is it ok for me to come over?” Without the slightest hesitation I said, “sure”.
As I rested on the Sofa, I remembered Nicky and I were planning my birthday party. Gosh, the last thing I wanted to do then was think of my birthday celebration. Here I was filled with anxiety and worry wondering if the man who I saw slumped over the steering wheel was alive and if the scared little boy was alright. I worried about their families and how they may have been affected. Nicky came and sat next to me on the Sofa. She too looked burdened. We shared many similar qualities and empathy was one of them; we deeply cared about others. “You good?” Nicky asked. “Nah, this one hit me hard girl. Really hard.” We discussed what we believed to be the activities that lead to this terrible accident comforting each other with hopeful words. Nicky looked at me and asked, “Weren’t we supposed to try to remove them, what if the jeep caught a fire?” I wondered about that myself, was it correct to wait that long for the paramedics? As we sat there in deep thought, we could hear Dad conversing with our neighbours and onlookers. Everyone was sharing their account of what they saw and heard.
I must’ve fallen asleep on the sofa. I was later awoken by Dad calling me, “Maxine, Max, Jason Emery is here!” He really came, I thought. I felt happy to have his company. I began to see him as a ray of light and there was something about his voice that was calm and reassuring. I stretched, rubbed my eyes and noticed Nicky was gone. As I looked to the right of the house I could see Jason fully engaged with the small group of people gathered. My head continued to throb, and I decided to go find a pain killer and water, with the hope that I can feel better and join the conversation. As I entered the kitchen searching for medication, I thought about my mother and how she often nursed me to better health as a little girl.
Chapter 11 – The Aftermath – Part II
It was approximately two and a half hours since we heard the crash and hastened outside to see a vehicle perched on top of our broken front wall. The small crowd dissipated except for our family, Nicky, Jason, and Dad’s younger brother, who just happened to be popping by. Rena had prepared some chicken burgers and served us along with passion fruit juice. Rena’s show of hospitality was very much appreciated. Some of us chilled on the porch while others were on the lawn; everyone grateful for something to eat. I looked at my phone, and noticed it was 12:10 p.m. No wonder we seemed so hungry. “Thank you Rena!” Dad said. “Very thoughtful of you.” “Thanks Dad.” She replied.
Shortly after our welcomed lunch, I observed everyone glancing at their phones and watches. Jason stood up and told us that he had to run an errand before 1:00 pm and personally thanked Rena for the delicious burgers. Nicky and I simultaneously walked towards Jason’s direction escorting him to his…”Wait a minute! Nicky exclaimed. “You mean you came here with a motorcycle and we didn’t realise it! Mmmm, full of surprises eh!” Jason looked at Nicky and they both laughed. At the same time, my brother raced across to have a closer look at Jason’s bike. “Thank you for coming Jason.” I said. “We really appreciate it.” As Jason mounted his bike and started the engine, he looked towards my direction and made eye contact. “I had to be here, especially after hearing everything over the phone.” He paused, looked away, then said. “No problem Maxine.”
As Jason took his exit it dawned on me that I never told him why I was calling him earlier that morning. We began walking back to the porch and Nicky asked if I wanted to continue planning my birthday barbecue. Before I could respond, Dad belted out from the living room, “absolutely! Why would you allow this incident to stop you from celebrating your birthday?” Nicky and I looked at each other and smiled because deep down we wanted to feel better and we knew focusing on my birthday would certainly help.
Within the hour, we were done calling all our invitees; a total of fifteen persons. I sent Jason a message to tell him why I was calling as I assumed, he was still travelling home. I didn’t want him to receive my invitation too late. Dad and I planned to do the shopping later that day as we were cognisant of the fact that the weekdays could be busy. Uncle Shawn stuck around for a while and even tagged along with us later that evening to pick up items for the event.
What a day, I thought, as I slumped on to the living room rug searching for the remote for the stereo. I felt like relaxing with fine music playing in the background; it was an ideal way to unwind. Despite the unexpected happenings of the day, I managed to accomplish my tasks. I finally found music fitting for my mood and made myself more comfortable on the floor. My phone rang; it was Jason. “Hey, I just called to say “yes”, I would surely love to attend your birthday barbecue.” “Great”, I answered. “I do hope you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable.” I could hear Jason’s smile. “I will be just fine. I hope you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable at my birthday event, don’t forget my invitation comes first.” “Well let’s see, I am planning to be there for sure.” We said goodbye and I laid on the floor reminiscing on how crazy and interesting the day was. As I closed my eyes, the various scenes of the day floated across my mind, from the crashing sound of metal and glass to a little boy’s whimper, then soft chatter of the small crowd and then finally the comforting voice of Jason Emery. What a day it was! I thought. What a day!
Chapter 12 – The Outfit
It was Tuesday evening, and it was just about time to leave for Jason Emery’s birthday celebration. I stood in front the mirror all dressed up wearing a mint green off-the-shoulder jumpsuit and a pair of brown leather sandals that had several straps around the ankle. The jumpsuit was one of my favourite pieces of clothing, given to me by Rena last Thanksgiving. Every now and then Rena would express her strange love for me by spoiling me with a new clothing item and no special occasion was needed. My sister was very fashionable and buoyant in her dressing; she paid attention to the latest trends and was often scouting the popular stores online.
As I stood in front the mirror, Rena came over to my room and looked at me from head to toe. I stood quietly patiently waiting for the inevitable feedback. “Not bad. Your hair though, it’s too neat, makes you seem tense.” I looked at Rena confused about her description. “What do you mean?” I replied. “You need to soften it up a bit, create a more casual and relaxing look.” My sister knew I was not the fancy type, she also knew that once I took a bath and had clean clothes to wear, I was happy. She realised how lost I was and before I knew it, Rena was adjusting my hairstyle. I allowed her to do as she pleased because I trusted her judgement. Added to that I really missed my sister; I felt as if we were growing apart and it was painful.
Rena made me look even more beautiful; instead of a neat bun she rearranged my hair into a ponytail allowing a few curls to drop at the side. I proceeded to retrieve my bag and Jason’s birthday gift and headed out the door after hearing Nicky’s car horn. We decided to travel together that evening and I looked forward to our time together.
Fifteen minutes later, we were at our destination; “The Sunset Club House”. As we drove towards the parking area, I noticed Jason at the front of the main building entertaining some of his guests. I found myself staring at what he was wearing feeling that there was something pleasantly familiar about it. I quickly looked away trying not to make it too obvious. We came out the vehicle and as we started walking towards Jason it hit me. Jason Emery was wearing a khaki-coloured long pants and a white linin long sleeve shirt. This was the exact outfit the young man in my dream was wearing. I took a deep breath and rubbed my palms against each other. Alright, this is absurd, I thought, perhaps I need to see a Shrink. My mouth and throat suddenly felt dry and I struggled to swallow. All of a sudden it felt extremely weird being there and exactly as experienced when we first met, I wanted to disappear.